How to Get Those QSLs Officer Elections NPOTA Expeditions
Sweepstakes Nov 19-20

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The November 9th RANV Meeting

Our November meeting will feature a presentation by Denny Avers W3DRY which was given to the Albermarle ARC of Virginia last month. There are plenty of great operating tips in the presentation - be sure to attend!


Officer Elections will be Held this November. Ballots will be included in the newsletter. The nominees are:

Remember that we are meeting at the Wheeler House at 1100 Dorset Street, South Burlington


Mitch W1SJ

October saw another two National Park activations by the RANV NPOTA super team. Our goal is to do maximum activations - putting up loud stations to make a boat load of contacts and to make the park reachable by stations with low power and small antennas.

On Saturday October 15th, we activated WR23, the Lamprey Natural and Wild River. The Lamprey starts around Northwood, NH, and actually forms the northern boundary of the Deerfield Fairgrounds. It then continues to meander west and north, eventually emptying into the Great Bay by Portsmouth, which eventually empties into the ocean. The area permitted by NPOTA starts a few miles west of Deerfield. We headed out of the Fest at 12:30 and drove 20 minutes to Mary Blair Park in West Epping, right along the banks of the river. It was full on Fall Foliage, and the spot was suitable for a painting. But we put up antennas instead.

The crew consisted of AA1SU, KB1FRW, KB1YTO and W1SJ. Inside of an hour, a 20 meter and 40 meter antenna were both hoisted 50 feet into the air and were fed with 500 watts of power on both bands. As the weather was really nice, we set up the operating tables outside, forgoing the work needed to put up shelters.

The 20 meter station was first on at 1:42. The first CQ resulted in a hellacious pileup, one which lasted all afternoon. People were calling on top of each other while fistfights broke out at times. As chief zookeeper, it was my job to keep the peace and keep the QSOs going in the log. We had 180 QSO's in the log inside of one hour. A lot of the QSOs were DX. Not bad for wire antenna. Paul got on and the pileup continued, but was a bit calmer. I got back on and when I announced that we'd be pulling the plug soon, the pileup got crazy again.

The 40 meter station got on at 2:12. It was typical 40 meters quick runs of stations and then nothing, and then quick runs. Rich had his first try at handling pileups and he switched on and off with Bob. We worked nearly 200 on this band and those people were mighty happy because as close-in stations, there was no way they would get through on 20 meters.

We pulled the plug on 40 meters at 5, and 20 meters run until 5:38, giving us just enough time to put everything away before it got dark. We ended up with a total of 792 QSO's from 45 states and 23 DXCC countries. Not bad for an afternoon in the park.

We had so much fun at Lamprey that we decided to go out next weekend and activate NS60, St. Gaudens National Site in Cornish, NH. With this activation, the RANV team has activated all the non-trail National Park units in both

Vermont and New Hampshire. This site was easy to reach - just 20 minutes off of the West Lebanon exit of I-89. So, after all the rain on Saturday, we drove down Sunday, October 23rd to put NS60 on the air. The crew consisted of KB1FRW, KB1YTO, N6PRT and W1SJ.

We set up in the main parking lot and quickly had 20 and 40 meter dipoles high in the trees. Park visitors marveled at the wires! As there was a threat of rain, the 20 meter station was inside the van, and the 40 meter station was under a shelter. The 20 meter station got going at 11, while 40 meters fired up 50 minutes later. We didnt have an amp for 40 meters on this trip, but it hardly mattered as we made pretty much the name of contacts as in the other activations. On 20 meters, it was a massive pileup all day with lots of DX. It was tiring work, and I had to have Bob come in for some relief. The problem with this is the Bob doesn't fit in the van - his upper body is 4 inches longer. So he had to schooch down so as not to hit the ceiling of the van. He has been complaining bout neck problems ever since. Next time, Ill have to cut a hole in the roof! Its always the small details that foul things up.

While on break, I walked around and ran into KB1HXO who was also doing an activation in the main part of the park. He was running 25 watts to dipole at 30 feet. Happily, there were no problems between the stations. Modern ham equipment is that much better than radios from yesteryear which had problems with this. Ken, but the way, is 13th on the Leader Board with 141 activations as this is being written. He does a lot of driving!

What was a rainy and snowy morning on the trip down turned into a glorious, but somewhat chilly fall day. Things weren't too shabby on the air either. When the last QSO was made at 5:09, we had 1008 QSOs in 47 states and 35 countries in the log. Wow!

W1NVT has only a mere 4 activations on the Leader Board - pretty close to the bottom. Those 4 activations have netted 3355 QSO's. Considering that an average activation is 60 QSO's, we have done the legwork for some 60 activations!

We are planning another trip up to WR26, Missisqoui River in early December when people's schedules and the weather all line up. Look for us then!


Mitch W1SJ

Saturday-Sunday November 19-20th is Sweepstakes. This is the granddaddy of all stateside ham radio contests, dating back to 1930. The ARRL DX Contest is a bit older, starting as the International Relay Party in 1927. Field Day dates back to 1933. Imagine what contests were like 86 years ago with large clunky equipment which did not have the abilities of modern day transceivers!

Sweepstakes is challenging in that you must exchange a lot of information - CORRECTLY. If you miscopy, you loose the contact. The exchange is made to look like a piece of formal traffic. There are 5 pieces of information in the exchange: Serial Number, Precedence, Call Sign, Check and ARRL Section. Serial Number, Call sign (yes you must repeat it in the exchange) and Section are self-explanatory. Precedence is the category: A: Low Power, B: High Power, U: Unlimited (assisted), Q: QRP, M: Multi, S: School club. The check is simply the last two digits of the year you were first licensed. And again accuracy and speed count which makes this a very challenging contest. Even if you have a modest station, you will work a lot of people - especially on Sunday when the big guns are literally begging for contacts.

The event starts Saturday at 4PM and ends Sunday and 10 PM and you can operate any 24 hours out of that period. With 10 and 15 mostly dead, 20 (day), 40 and 80 (night) meters will be the money bands, so focus on those.

By the way, this will be my 46th Sweepstakes. Yikes, I've been in more than half of 'em! Get on the air for a bit, and have some fun!

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